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No FDR, Obama Hands Heart And Soul Of Democratic Party To GOP



The Senate voted successfully for cloture yesterday on the Obama tax cuts deal hammered out between the White House and the Congressional Republicans last week, passing the procedural motion by a convincing 61-7 vote.  We can expect this bill to be on the Senate’s agenda for final passage sometime today.

But the Democratic caucus in the House said last week they would not go along with the White House deal in its current form and have called for additional changes, including an increase of the estate tax before falling in line behind the Senate.

If the Democrats are being “held hostage” by the Republicans, according to President Barack Obama’s latest interpretation of Republican abdurate behavior on extending the Bush tax cuts, then repeal of DADT is being “held hostage” by a White House negotiated tax deal that every Democrat seems to find odious, but appears to be resigned to passing, despite any misgivings they may have about giving away billions of dollars to the wealthiest of Americans.

Everything else on the Senate calendar has been held in abeyance, including DADT, which has a “whistling in the dark” chance of passing as a stand alone measure, introduced late last week by  Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and co-sponsored by Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Mark Udall (D-CO) with original co-sponsors. Bless them all for trying, although I believe it is a Sisyphean task, with little, if any chance of winning passage.   The DADT repeal vote could come as early as today or tomorrow.

As the 111th Congress lurches toward final adjournment, currently scheduled for Friday, despite opposition by many Democrats in the House caucus, there is no doubt that if the Senate version of the tax cut bill, if passed, is brought to the House floor, there will be more than enough votes to pass it, no matter how odious it seems. The question that remains unanswered is:  “Will Speaker Nancy Pelosi resist White House pressure to bring the Senate measure to the House floor without changes?”

With changes, the House version would have to return to the Senate for another vote taking additional time, something unlikely to be accommodated.  Thus, my restated pessimism about the odds of passing repeal of DADT, asumming a tax deal passed by Congress would politically trump any effort to repeal DADT.  And don’t forget this White House has been insisting that the START Treaty remains a huge priority for passage in the Senate, requiring 67 votes.

But before we turn the page on this Congress, let us not forget how this situation began: Obama political advisor David Axelrod announced just a few days following the mid-term elections’ debacle that the Administration would not fight the Republicans by opposing a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts in the lame duck session of Congress.  An immediate uproar of opposition propelled a feeble attempt by the White House to walk this announcement back, but ultimately, Obama did indeed cave while shouting  a metaphorical “no mas!”

Never mind–if this odious deal comes to pass–Obama has not only foresaken a major campaign promise , but he has also betrayed his supporters, undercut the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives and given away the store to the Republicans signaling early that he had no stomach for a fight, even if such jawboning would galvanize his base.  Not to be content to accept such an unacceptable outcome, Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, actually carried out a 9-hour “standing at the podium,” true fillibuster opposing the Obama tax deal last Friday.  Sanders did not support a vote for cloture Monday.

But what the hell–let’s just give away the farm–just the first rail of Democratic Party politics conceived and advanced by FDR in the first 99 days of his administration in 1933 amid the Great Depression, called a “New Deal”— which Congress rapidly adopted to “deliver relief to the unemployed and those in danger of losing farms and homes, recovery to agriculture and business, and reform, which included the banks and the financial houses”.

Sound faintly familiar?  Yes, FDR put together a social and economic platform to save the working man, the American family and provide for their economic security during his nearly 16 years as president.  The scion son of one of America’s wealthiest families, Roosevelt had the ability to articulate to the American public what he believed the country needed and the people deserved during the Great Depression.  He also possessed the requisite guts to take on the Wall Street barons and the bankers who stopped the American economy cold during the Great Depression by shuttering banks throughout the land, while many committed suicide as they came to ruin during the Wall Street Crash of October 1929.

FDR wrapped up the New Deal and Second New Deal that included Social Security and unemployment assistance into the framework of the “Four Freedoms”: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear–which he delivered to Congress during his State of the Union address, January 6, 1941.

These freedoms ring as true today, as they did nearly 70 years ago, when America would face an axis of fascism by a xenophobic Japan and a nationalistic Germany with a monstrous plan to subsume Europe under its control as it exterminated as many Jewry as humanly possible.  America’s economy had lagged for 12 long years following the Wall Street crash of 1929.  Bread lines stretched out across America and people begged to work for food.  There were thousands upon thousands of homeless families jumping trains, living in open fields and poverty struck tenements, which depression era photographers would capture for the ages.

At the end of 2010, America’s economy remains soft and millions are out of work, while many believe they will never work again.  College graduates are interning for no pay and string together short-term contracts with no benefits to survive.  We are at war, tied down in Afghanistan fighting an ephemeral enemy who bases itself across the porous border in Pakistan and fights further away in close by Middle East states such as Yemen. And we have yet to finish off a second war in Iraq.  These wars are burning $2 billion a week from an American treasury which is propped up by billions of dollars in loans from non-ally China.  This situation is simply unsustainable, even for America and all of its wealth.

With so much at stake for the American people, the “coup de grace” was personally delivered by Obama when he caved to the ascendant Republicans last week.  Obama and his negotiators willfully gave up the heart and soul of the Democratic Party to Republicans who proudly work, even brag about their representation of the richest among us.  Obama’s soaring oratory fails him in this moment–no words can save us from vacuous policies that throw good money after bad.

And so I quote FDR who so wisely and eloquently said on Jan. 6, 1941,

A free nation has the right to expect full cooperation from all groups.  A free nation has the right to look to the leaders of business, of labor, and of agriculture, to take the lead in stimulating effort, not among groups, but within their own groups.

The best way of dealing with a few slackers or trouble makers in our midst is,  first, to shame them by patriotic example, and, if that fails, use sovereignty of Government, to save Government…

Certainly, this is no time for any of us to stop thinking about the social and economic problems which are the root cause of social revolution which is today the supreme factor in the world.  For there is nothing mysterious about the foundation of a healthy and strong democracy.  The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple.  They are:  Equality of opportunity for youth and for others; jobs for those who can work; security for those who need it; the ending of special privilege for the few; the preservation of civil liberties for all and the enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.

So as Mr. Obama prepares for a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, I hope he will read FDR’s speech which seems to scream out to all of us nearly 70 years later.  We need not reinvent a wheel.  Take a page out of history Mr. Obama and fight for what is right for Americans–for what is urgently needed now–not in two years, not in eight years, but now.  If our leaders can’t fight for what is right and just during a tenuous time in our history, then what will become of this great experiment called America?

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Trump Mocked for ‘Sidelining’ His New $3 Million Attorney: ‘Must Have Given Him Actual Legal Advice’



It’s no secret Donald Trump has been virtually unable to hire highly-respected attorneys to defend him in the many legal and civil cases he is facing for a variety of alleged crimes and misdeeds, including his actions surrounding fraudulent efforts to overturn a free and fair election and the January 6 insurrection, his retention and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents, and his alleged real estate and tax fraud cases, and more.

One of the rumored reasons Trump, a former President, has been unable to retain quality legal representation is he “has a long history of allegedly not paying his bills,” as Vanity Fair has noted.

Trump did manage to hire what many consider a qualified and respected attorney for his legal issues surrounding his classified documents case.

READ MORE: ‘Bright-Red, Ear-Splitting Alarm Bell’: Former Top GOP Congressman Blasted for ‘Normalization’ of Fascism (Video)

Chris Kise, the former solicitor general for Florida, agreed to work for Trump but only if he was paid up front.

Thanks to Trump’s massive fundraising operation Kise is being paid millions, effectively by Trump supporters.

Kise is also no longer leading the case.

CNN reports Kise “has been sidelined from the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation less than a month after he was brought on to represent Trump in the matter, two sources familiar with the move tell CNN.”

READ MORE: Embattled Trump-Appointed DHS Inspector Was Given Phones of Secret Service Agents in July, Raising ‘New Questions’: Report

“Kise’s hiring came with an unusual price tag of $3 million, paid for by Trump’s outside spending arm. The retainer fee, paid upfront, raised eyebrows among other lawyers on Trump’s team, given the former President has a developed a reputation for not paying his legal fees.”

Legal experts are mocking Trump for sidelining his top attorney.

“Obviously this means the lawyer must have given Trump actual legal advice,” teased George Conway.

“Which is just RUDE,” replied attorney Ken White.

MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst and anchor Katie Phang asked, “So Kise is a $3 million dollar benchwarmer?”

“Trump is already throwing over Chris Kise after signing a $3M retainer and convincing him to leave Foley & Lardner? That seems … not smart,” says Liz Dye, who writes about law and politics. “Chaos monkey gonna chaos monkey, I guess.”

Dan Berman, CNN Politics managing editor for legal, immigration, and the Supreme Court serves up the perfect headline: “Trump’s 3 Million Dollar Man is sidelined already.”

LA Times columnist Harry Litman, a frequent guest on MSNBC and a former U.S. Attorney offered perhaps the most amusing response:

“The one credible lawyer that Trump has hired in years, Chris Kise, paying $3M up front, now has been demoted and is no longer leading the MAL defense. Must be Trump’s payback for the fix he’s now in w/ Judge Dearie. He thinks he’s Goldfinger/Dr.No but he’s really Austin Powers.”

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‘Bright-Red, Ear-Splitting Alarm Bell’: Former Top GOP Congressman Blasted for ‘Normalization’ of Fascism (Video)



Trey Gowdy, the former top Republican U.S. Congressman from South Carolina, head of the powerful Oversight Committee who chaired the House Select Committee investigating Hillary Clinton and the attack in Benghazi, is under fire this week for what some see as normalizing fascism.

Gowdy appeared on a Fox News‘ “hard news” program Monday, hosted by anchor Bret Baier, and decried how some media outlets described Italy’s election of Giorgia Meloni, a neo-fascist, who will be their new prime minister.

Meloni is also a Christian nationalist who has praised the founder of Italian fascism, dictator Benito Mussolini. She holds far right views, including opposition to abortion, any legal rights for LGBTQ people including marriage and adoption, and is seen as xenophobic and opposed to the European Union.

During the campaign Meloni at a rally “thundered,” as the AP reported, “Yes to the natural family. No to the LGBT lobby. Yes to sexual identity. No to gender ideology.”

READ MORE: Critics Blast Top US Conservative Think Tank President for Applauding Italy’s Election of ‘Neo-Fascist’ Prime Minister

The Fox News panel denounced the U.S. media labeling Meloni as “far right.”

“I guess what I’m wondering is,” Gowdy, an attorney and former federal prosecutor said, “if you’re winning elections, if you are what the people want, at what point does that become the center? Who gets to say what is far right, or what is hard right?”

What Gowdy neglected to note is Italy does not have a two-party system like the U.S., so Meloni won with just a quarter of the vote. And regardless of popularity, political positions are categorized by positions on a scale, including far and center.

On social media Gowdy was highly criticized.

“How could the Nazis do the things they did? How could rational decent Germans just stand by and watch as fascism rose to power to began to murder millions? How? This is how,” retired U.S. military intelligence officer Jim Wright, who runs a popular Twitter account, wrote in response to the clip.

READ MORE: Embattled Trump-Appointed DHS Inspector Was Given Phones of Secret Service Agents in July, Raising ‘New Questions’: Report

Quoting Gowdy questioning “who gets to say?” Wright added, “Who gets to say what’s wrong? Who gets to condemn the rise of fascism?”

“Who gets to condemn hate and intolerance and the violence of these goddamn goons? I DO. YOU DO. WE ALL DO. That’s who,” he continued.

Yale University professor of philosophy Jason Stanley slammed the media’s lackluster response to the election of a neo-fascist while the American right applauded the news.

“The burst of incredible enthusiasm for an Italian fascist leader on the American right is being ignored by the liberal media, which as usual is missing the forest and reporting on some trees,” he tweeted, in response to the clip of Gowdy’s remarks.

(NCRM did report on the right’s response to the election of the neo-fascist prime minister on Monday, highlighting criticism of the praise of the neo-fascist by the head of The Heritage Foundation, which is ranked the third most influential think tank in America.)

Media Matters for America’s Kat Abu, who posted the video, commented, “Think of any far-right or fascist regime. Now think of how many of its citizens justified these beliefs during the regime’s rise to power. This tweet is a bright-red, ear-splitting alarm bell and I am begging everyone to listen to it.”

READ MORE: Fox News Host Claims ‘Whites Are a Minority in California’ So Dems Want ‘On-Ramp’ for Undocumented Immigrants to Vote

Willamette University Professor of History Seth Cotlar observed: “This might be an appropriate time to recall that the 2nd KKK in the 1920s had around 4 million members nationwide. In some localities the majority of white men joined the organization. They described themselves as ‘patriotic Christian Americans’ who supported law and order.”

Esquire’ Jack Holmes, pointing to the clip said, “these are the same people who blast Joe Biden, who won 7 million more citizens’ votes than his opponent, as an out-of-touch far-left extremist.”

Reuters Global News Desk editor Gerry Doyle mocked Gowdy, asking, “truly, whomst among us can say whether fascism is bad or good.”

Novelist Jason Miller, appearing to mock Gowdy’s famous hairstyles, tweeted, “Fascist Supercuts here is really giving away the game.”

Journalist Tim Mullaney corrected Gowdy: “Call me crazy, former Congressman. Six million Jews later, we can confidently say the German People got it wrong.”

Lincoln Project senior advisor Jeff Timmer, paraphrasing Gowdy, tweeted: “‘If the people want Nazis, we should give them Nazis. And be happy about it.’ – Trey Gowdy, sort of.”

Monique Camarra, a researcher/analyst on Russian capture, influence and information warfare in Italy and Europe, and co-host of the Kremlin File warned the clip is “Normalisation.”

Scholar of fascism, authoritarians, and propaganda, NYU professor of history Ruth Ben-Ghiat, possibly stunned, responded with merely one word: “what.”

Watch Trey Gowdy below or at this link.




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Embattled Trump-Appointed DHS Inspector Was Given Phones of Secret Service Agents in July, Raising ‘New Questions’: Report



Senior Secret Service leadership confiscated the cell phones of 24 agents and handed them over to the embattled Trump-appointed Inspector General of the Dept. of Homeland Security as he was launching his criminal investigation into the deleted text message scandal. The Secret Service, DHS, and former Trump officials at the Pentagon have been under fire after the IG, Joseph Cuffari, belatedly revealed texts from January 5 and 6, 2021, had been deleted.

“The agency handed over the phones ‘shortly after’ a July 19 letter was sent by Inspector General Joseph Cuffari’s office,” NBC News reports.

“The revelation that Cuffari’s office has had access to the phones since late July or August raises new questions about the progress of his criminal investigation into the missing text messages and what, if anything, the public may be able to learn about communications between agents on Jan. 6, 2021,” NBC adds.

READ MORE: Trump-Installed DHS Inspector General Who Ignored Text Deletions Violated ‘Prohibition on Unethical Conduct’: Report

Cuffari reportedly learned in December of 2021 that the cell phones of Secret Service agents directly involved in protective operations on the day of the insurrection, had been wiped and text messages deleted. He did not report this to Congress until July of 2022, despite his staff taking action.

CNN, however, has reported Cuffari actually learned of the deleted texts in May of 2021, which if accurate would mean he waited more than a year to inform Congress. Nor did he inform the National Archives, which is required by law to retain those records.

Cuffari has been seen by some as covering for Trump loyalists. His own staff is calling for his firing.

“Department of Homeland Security (DHS) watchdog staff recently called on President Joe Biden to remove their boss, Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, according to a blistering letter obtained by the Project On Government Oversight,” POGO reported last week. “‘The highest priorities of an inspector general are integrity and independence,’ states the letter. ‘IG Cuffari and his inner circle of senior leaders have fallen short in these areas time and time again.'”

READ MORE: ‘Coverup of Treason’: Trump-Appointed IG, Under Investigation, Knew of Missing Secret Service and DHS Texts Far Earlier

In April of 2021 The Washington Post reported Cuffari “blocked investigations proposed by career staff last year to scrutinize the [Secret Service’s] handling of the George Floyd protests in Lafayette Square and the spread of the coronavirus in its ranks, according to documents and people with knowledge of his decisions.”

Noted political scientist Norman Ornstein, who sits on the POGO board, in late July called the situation a “coverup of treason.”

POGO, he wrote, “has been calling for a long time for the resignation of DHS IG Joseph Cuffari. He sat on the information of missing texts from the top DHS ‘acting’ officials, put there by Trump to do his bidding. Stinks to high heaven. Coverup of treason.”



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